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What is a Stye?

A stye is a small, tender lump that forms along the edge (external stye) or just inside the eyelid (internal stye).

What are the Symptoms?

Common symptoms that accompany the formation of a stye include tenderness in the surrounding eyelid and some watering of the eye. Vision should not be affected.

What Causes a Stye to Form?

Styes form as a result of a staphylococcus infection. The site of infection will determine the type of stye that forms:
  • External stye, caused by an infection of an eyelash follicle, the sebaceous (Zeis) glands, or of the Moll’s (ciliary) glands.
  • Internal stye, caused by an infection of the meibomian (tarsal) glands.
Conditions such as chronic blepharitis can also increase a person’s risk of developing styes.


A close examination is necessary to properly diagnose styes, as they can resemble chalazia. A chalazion is a blocked oil gland in the eyelid that can become inflamed and get large enough to affect vision.


While painful, styes are rarely serious. Most external styes will heal on their own within a few days; internal styes may take a few weeks to heal. Some clinicians may recommend lancing and draining a stye if it gets very large. Do not attempt to do this yourself. Antibiotics may also be prescribed if complications arise.
If you suspect that you or a loved one has a stye or any other minor illness or injury, visit a RediClinic near you today. Our locations are open seven days a week, including extended weekday hours.

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